That we must inform you that you have not been selected for the job you applied to”.
Ever had one of these letters end up in your mailbox? It happens less often than it used to, but it’s still done. More frequently these days in comes in the form of an email. This letter, or ones akin to it go in the wonderfully appropriate category of ‘rejection letters’. Not only is the content of the letter annoying, but so is the name of the category. What’s even more frustrating is that usually when you realize you’ve been rejected, it was only seconds prior to it that your hopes were raised, your excitement building as you carefully opened the sealed envelope it arrived in.
Notes of rejection hurt because of course it’s a statement a company is making that you are not what they are looking for. To them of course, they’d say, “Don’t take it personally, we send out hundreds of those over a year”. But when it lands in your mailbox, and it’s got your name on it, of course it’s personal. But to the company, it’s not, and the reason is that they haven’t got to know you very much if at all, and so it can’t be personally if they would pass you by on the street and not even recognize you.
Now here’s the thing about these letters and some action you can take. Resist the urge to crumple it up, toss it in the trash and move on. Just about everyone else who gets one of these letters will do exactly that. What I recommend is a different course of action. Think first about how much you wanted the job you’ve just be rejected for. Did you want it bad or was it just one of many jobs you applied to and you really don’t care whether you got it or not?
If you answered that you really wanted it bad, why give up? Sit yourself down and think about things first. As frustrating as it is, mentally review how the interview went. Your resume was good enough to grant you the interview, so that’s not an issue. Did you answer the questions intelligently and with confidence or where there any questions you failed to properly answer? If you can identify where you stumbled, you’ve got a clue as to where to avoid stumbling in future interviews. Maybe you picked up on a raised eyebrow, a puzzled look, or a point in the interview where things clearly went badly and things started wrapping up. Or maybe everything went great.
Now, after you’ve had about half an hour to digest the letter, and you should re-read it slowly and see if there is anything in it that you missed the first time you scanned it, sit down to write a reply. This reply to a rejection letter is to most people an utter waste of time and that’s why so few do it. After all, if a company and an interviewing panel have already rejected you, why go back for more of the same?
And here’s why it’s critical. In many situations, not everyone who is offered a job accepts. Of those that do, not all actually start the job as they may change their mind and take a better offer the employer was unaware of. Some who do start jobs don’t last beyond their probationary period, and a number don’t make it past the first few days as they realize what they are doing isn’t for them. And add to this mix the fact that while the person hired might work out just fine, there are other people in the company often performing the same job who surprise the employer and go on pregnancy leave, quit outright, ask for a prolonged leave of absence, or the company grows and needs more people than they anticipated.
Companies in the above situations now have a spot to fill and have a choice to make. Do they post a new job, advertise, receive resumes, set up interviews, assemble more panels of people that have to take time away from their jobs; all of which cost money OR do they just see who they almost hired? Sometimes it’s far less expensive and quicker to just go to back to someone who they could have easily hired but didn’t. Now imagine if you and one other person are in that situation. You’d stand out substantially if you had sent in a letter after the rejections went out expressing continued interest.
So what should you say? Something like this:
Today I learned that I was not the successful candidate for the position of _____________. While disappointing, I want to express my continued interest and passion for the position and one day securing employment with ________________. Should a similar position present itself, please be advised that I am most eager to present myself as an enthusiastic candidate. If in the interim, there are any areas you can suggest I address to improve on my application, I would greatly appreciate your insight.
Now think about it…what have you got to lose except an envelope and a postage stamp? You come across as professional, determined, and you really show you want it bad. Oh yeah, you’ll be the one they say, “Let’s call her back in shall we?”